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In 2015, the US Supreme Court issued Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. With the right to get married came the right to divorce. Divorce can be very stressful, and mixing in complicated legal issues makes divorce even more challenging. 

If you need an LGBT divorce attorney, the Ramos Law Group can help. Led by board-certified family law specialist Mary E. Ramos, we commit ourselves to keeping up with legal developments in family law. We watch LGBT family law carefully to ensure we can represent our clients with the best tools and strategies available. 

Property Division

Texas is a community property state, meaning property and debt spouses obtain during marriage are shared equally. When you divorce, you split your property in a way that is “just and right.” To divide property in this manner, you have to take into account each spouse’s circumstances and what is best for any children the couple has.

Separate Property

Property obtained before marriage typically belongs to one spouse, including investments and any earnings from them. Property a spouse receives during the marriage through inheritance, non-compensatory damages for personal injury, or as a gift also qualifies as separate property. 

Special Considerations

Many same-sex couples lived together in long-term partnerships before Obergefell legalized same-sex marriage. When should property brought into the relationship be treated as community property? 

One spouse legally transitioning their gender during the marriage can also raise unique issues. For example, what happens when one spouse changes their name or gender markers on their legal identification documents, but their previous name is still listed on property transfer records?

Child Custody and Visitation

By law, a court must ensure child custody and visitation arrangements reflect the best interests of the child. There are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody includes the right to make important decisions about your child’s life, while physical custody means your child primarily lives with you, the custodial parent.


In Texas, we have three types of conservatorships, which involve different custody arrangements including:

  • Joint Managing Conservatorships (JMCs),
  • Sole Managing Conservatorships (SMCs), and
  • Possessory Conservatorships.

JMCs are defined by the parents sharing legal custody of the child. In some cases, particularly when there is a history of family violence or abandonment, the court may award sole physical and legal custody and an SMC to one parent. The other parent is typically awarded a possessory conservatorship and limited visitation rights.

Special Considerations

Marriage is not the only issue same-sex couples have spent decades fighting for. Unfortunately, some fights to achieve equality continue. Although the US Supreme Court has held that same-sex parents are entitled to have both their names on a child’s birth certificate, Texas law allows adoption agencies to discriminate based on religious beliefs. That means an agency may refuse to let an LGBT individual or couple adopt. 

Sometimes, to get around these issues, only one parent legally adopts a child. Or the same-sex partner of someone raising their biological child never officially adopts the child despite acting as the parent. These considerations can complicate matters of child custody when LGBT individuals divorce since only the child’s legal parents are entitled to custody.

Child Support

Parents are obligated to support their children until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. When one parent has physical custody and the other does not, the non-custodial parent generally pays child support. 

Calculating Child Support

Texas law sets child support guidelines. A parent typically pays 20% of their income to support one child. That value increases by 5% for each additional child, up to a maximum of 40% for five or more children. Parties can agree to a number that differentiates from the child support guidelines. Even unemployed parents are expected to pay child support and the guideline will calculate child support at a minimum wage rate. 

Special Considerations for LGBT Couples

Many of the same considerations that complicate child custody also complicate child support. When only one spouse is the child’s legal parent, the other may legally owe no child support. Even if they want to pay, not being the child’s legal parent can make the situation legally complex.

Spousal Maintenance 

Spousal maintenance involves regular payments one spouse must pay the other post-divorce. Spousal support involves voluntary amounts a spouse pays the other. Whether and how much a spouse pays depends heavily on the circumstances. Regardless, you generally cannot be required to pay more than whichever is less between 20% of your monthly income or $5,000. 

Spousal Maintenance Obligations

You may request spousal maintenance if your marriage lasted at least ten years, you cannot provide for your reasonable needs, and you:

  • Are disabled,
  • Are the primary caretaker for a disabled child, or
  • Lack earning capacity to meet your needs.

You can also request spousal maintenance if your partner has been convicted of family violence against you or your children in the last two years.

The maximum length spousal maintenance payments can last depends on the length of the marriage:

  • 10 years for a couple married for 30 years or more,
  • 7 years for a couple married between 10 and 20 years, and
  • 5 years for a couple married between 5 and 10 years. 

You may also be awarded spousal maintenance for up to five years based on a family violence conviction. 

Special Considerations

Obergefell is not yet ten years old, so spousal maintenance is in legally murky waters for same-sex spouses. If your partner does not agree to spousal support but you need it, a lawyer can help you make a plan.

Protective Orders

Family violence is unfortunately common in our society, and LGBT couples are no exception. You can seek a temporary or long-term protective order when you separate from a spouse who abused you or another household member. The order will prohibit your spouse from contacting you.

Getting a Protective Order

You can generally get a 20-day temporary order without having to confront your abuser in court. Making the order permanent requires either your partner’s consent or you to prove your partner has abused you in court. If you need a protective order, your lawyer can provide support, guidance, compassion, and understanding to help you through the process.

Special Considerations

Rates of intimate partner violence are generally similar for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. However,  transgender individuals often experience higher rates of violence. Unfortunately, LGBT or gender-nonconforming children are often at higher risk of violence in the home as well. Additionally, the lack of legal protections for LGBT individuals and the legality of religious discrimination can complicate working through the system to get the order.

Hiring a League City LGBT Divorce Lawyer

If you are an LGBT individual who needs a divorce, reach out to the Ramos Law Group today. Whether you need a gay divorce attorney or someone with experience helping trans individuals through divorce, we can help. Our commitment to legal education means we can offer unique, tailored case strategies alongside our compassionate support to help you get through your divorce.

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Our Client Testimonials

Superb Law Firm

The decision to end my 25-year marriage was not an easy one, but hiring the Ramos Law Group was. From the initial consultation to the execution of the Divorce Decree everyone at the firm displayed the utmost professionalism and I was treated as if I was their only client. My attorney Lindsey, always provided precise legal guidance, was usually one step ahead of the opposing counsel, and had a superb understanding of how things would play out in the court room. Additionally, whenever my case needed a little extra horsepower, Mary provided that "surge" to keep things on track.

Worth Every Penny

"Ms. Ramos and her entire staff worked with professionalism and compassion to guide me through the most difficult time of my life and to an outcome that was best for my family and myself. Ramos Law is incredible and I highly, highly recommend their services."

Custody case won

"I was recommended to see Mary Ramos for my on coming custody case,it was the best thing I could've done honestly.The Ramos law group was quick with emailed responses and telephone calls,informative with ANY questions I had and they also took action with what they thought would work,which it did,I had money troubles and they were still willing to help they sent me with a younger lawyer Lindsey Lewis to help save some money and she was the best!She knew what she was doing and Mary was still on my case to make sure things went smoothly and to catch any details Lindsey and I might have missed.All in all I am a very satisfied client and if I ever needed a family lawyer again I would come back.My case was won as I received primary for my daughter which is exactly what I asked for.If you're willing to listen to what they have to say and follow their guidance they're definitely worth hiring.I thought I wanted sole custody for my daughter and they explained that wasn't in the best interest for her and honestly they were right,they speak to you on a professional level and also a real level of how things are actually going to work and what could happen if you take a certain action.They definitely care about their clients and make their own bond with you,you're not just money in their pockets you turn into family. "

Divorce Attorney

"I received excellent advice and representation from Ms. Lindsey Lewis. She kept me updated at every step of the process, and I never felt as if my case was set aside. I would hire The Ramos Law Group in the future. "

Highly recommend

"I started my divorce with a lawyer who was not very responsive. My divorce case was complicated and needed more laborious scrutiny. Since the case was not moving forward I had to switch lawyers. Made the switch to Ramos Law group. Since the very first day Mary and her team have been very efficient and meticulous. Since the case was complicated the team had to go through myriads of pages in discovery. I was pleased with the legal team that helped us handle the paperwork in a very timely manner. All my questions were answered very promptly. The relay of information was easy with their software system. We finally had a law firm that we could trust. My divorce was finalized and I only have Mary and her team to thank for going through a difficult divorce. I would highly recommend the Ramos law group for their help and support for getting my life back on track. "

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